Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is Twitter useful in education?

Earlier this semester I decided to add a Twitter widget to my Blackboard site, after an enthusiastic student began tweeting during one of my first-year lectures. I saw this as a great oppotunity to engage the students - beginning conversations during the class, and continuing them throughout the week.

At first, I would often display the widget on screen during the lecture, and discuss any tweets as they came through. But after a while the tweets slowed down. There were only half a dozen or so eager students using the service, and the novelty of this tool soon died.

Maybe I was just too early with this trial. Are there enough users of Twitter amongst our undergraduate student population yet?

Have you used Twitter in your teaching or learning? Do you think it could be a good educational tool? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.


creative and meaningful said...

well, another university in Oz is using it for journalism students

Jimmy said...

It has great potential but atm not many people are on Twitter. For example I have 600+ friends on Facebook but only about 30 are on Twitter...

Alex of Melbourne said...

Not too sure about structured classroom learning, but for conferencing where independent note-taking and networking are two typical features, Twitter works very well at multiplying the effect of these features. We've been trying to get our CPA Australia members twittering sessions at our annual CPA Congress events (#cpacongress) and while the uptake has not been huge it has been the interest and uptake of Twitter by staff that has been the big winner.

I'd guess this would be the same for University, that even if the initial student uptake isn't huge, the interest you get from other staff in looking for alternative means of teaching and communication will be a win in itself.